Moline History Echoes From Riverside Cemetery

For this project, Heritage Documentaries, Inc. partnered with the Moline Preservation Society, which sponsored the first two cemetery walks. The book makes a substantial contribution to the understanding of Moline as it emerged as a major manufacturing center in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. We believe that the following three features of Moline History Echoes From Riverside Cemetery make it an outstanding contribution to community history.

First, the story of each individual featured at the cemetery walks is historically well-documented. Each actor was given background material on the person he or she portrayed. The emphasis and tone of the scripts they wrote vary with the preferences of the actors, but they all reflect the life of the person portrayed as documented through archival research.

Second, a wide diversity of people is featured, representing various classes, ages, and occupations. Included are immigrants, Civil War veterans, factory workers, seamstresses, gardeners, farmers, and boarding house operators, in addition to well-known people such as members of the Deere family, other industrialists, and political figures.

Third, the story of Riverside Cemetery itself is compelling. Its 1851 section is one of the earliest in the area. The 1872 expansion, designed William Le Baron Jenney, was part of the rural cemetery movement that was sweeping the United States at the time. Jenney's design transformed the cemetery into a picturesque landscape astride the Mississippi River Bluffs, which offers spectacular vistas for visitors to the cemetery today.


Parts of the Book

The book has two major parts. The main body includes the scripts, accompanied by background and contextual information on each featured person. Relevant archival materials have been carefully assembled over the last twelve years by Heritage board member Kathleen Seusy, who organized ten of the twelve cemetery walks. To round out the presentation on each individual, we included appropriate images - of the person, her/his business or home, or a landmark or activity directly relevant to that person's life. The idea here is to visually bring to life the featured people and the contexts in which they lived and worked.

To set the stage for the stories of the people buried there, we include a history of Riverside Cemetery, featuring the part designed by Jenney in 1872. Jenney (1832-1907) is perhaps best known for his innovative steel-framed skyscraper designs in the late nineteenth century. However, he also participated in the design of Chicago's boulevard system and Graceland Cemetery, and worked with Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to carry out the design of the planned suburb of Riverside, Illinois. Jenney may have been attracted to Moline through Chicago connections of John Deere, who was mayor of Moline at the time, or his son Charles who hired Jenney as the architect for his Moline mansion, Overlook.

The book has perfect binding, 270 black and white pages, and a four-color cover. The authors are Kathleen Seusy, Curtis C. Roseman, and Regena Jo Schantz, of Heritage Documentaries, and Diann Moore, of the Moline Preservation Society. The authors have substantial interest and expertise in the history of Moline and the surrounding area.

This community history draws upon carefully-documented stories of the lives of 109 people buried at Riverside Cemetery in Moline, Illinois, accompanied by a history of the cemetery itself. Included are people from diverse classes and backgrounds who were featured at twelve annual Echoes from Riverside cemetery walk events. The 270 page book contains over 500 photographs and other images. The project was made possible through a generous grant from the Moline Foundation.
Download the free teacher's guide for the book, Echoes From Riverside Cemetery, here.


This book is currently out of print.

People Featured in the Book